July 29, 2020 / 5:41 AM / 5 days ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Fed in focus, Senate passes Philippines stimulus

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
    * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA
    * Philippine stocks edge higher, senate passes stimulus
package
    * Singapore Q2 jobless rate hits new decade-high of 2.9%

    By Rashmi Ashok
    July 29 (Reuters) - Philippine stocks rose on Wednesday as
news of the passing of a 140 billion peso ($2.85 billion)
stimulus package by the country's Senate helped offset concerns
about a possible tightening of coronavirus restrictions at the
end of the month. 
    While most Asian currency and stock markets traded in tight
ranges ahead of the end of a U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting
later in the day, both the Thai baht and Taiwan dollar extended
recent gains against their U.S. counterpart. 
    COVID-19 cases have been rising in a number of the region's
emerging markets, but the Philippines has borne the brunt of
investor reaction in recent weeks, with the main stocks index
down nearly 5% so far this month and more than 23% for the year.
    A State of the Nation (SONA) address by President Rodrigo
Duterte earlier this week failed to calm nerves, and investors
now worry the country will have to weather another series of
restrictions because of the virus before the crisis is resolved.
    "Anxiety is increasing over possibilities of the country
reverting to a stricter quarantine," said Jennifer Lomboy, fund
manager at First Metro Asset Management.
    "However, the market may get reprieve from news that the
Senate has approved 140 billion peso Bayanihan II Act for
economic recovery efforts following the orders of the President
during his SONA," she added. 
    After falling as much as 1%, Manila stocks were
trading around 0.4% higher in late trade. 
    Emerging markets continue to be propped up by the conviction
that major central banks will have to keep a steady flow of new
money flowing into the financial system in the months ahead to
prevent a deeper economic depression. 
    Data on Tuesday showed a plunge in U.S. consumer confidence
in July, arguing against a quick economic recovery and in favour
of an accommodative message on policy from the Fed that may
strengthen stocks and other riskier assets further.
    The scale of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States,
as well as more tensions with China, have also kept the dollar
on the retreat against a range of currencies. 
    The Taiwan dollar strengthened as much as 0.8% in
midday trade while the Thai baht added about 0.5%.
    Domestic data showed Singapore's jobless rate rose sharply
in the second quarter to a new decade-high of 2.9%, as the
COVID-19 pandemic saw employment shrink in the services and
construction sector.
    Data from Thailand, which has been rocked this month by a
series of resignations in the government's economic ministries,
showed a manufacturing production index dropped 17.66% in June,
less than expected.
    Thai stocks gained around 0.3%.
    
    HIGHLIGHTS
    
    ** Top gainers on the Thailand's SETI include
Thai-German Products PCL up 16.67% and TWZ
Corporation PCL adding 16.67% 
    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields were up 1 basis
points at 6.858%​​ while 3-year benchmark yields were down 1.8
basis points at 5.337%​​ 
    
    ASIAN STOCK INDEXES AND CURRENCIES AT 0508 GMT
    
 COUNTRY    FX RIC    FX      FX     INDEX    STOCKS  STOCKS
                      DAILY   YTD %           DAILY   YTD %
                      %                       %       
 Japan                +0.03   +3.39           -1.09   -5.27
 China      <CNY=CFX  -0.03   -0.58           1.05    6.94
            S>                                        
 India                +0.01   -4.60           -0.28   -7.40
 Indonesia            -0.28   -4.41           -0.22   -19.01
 Malaysia             +0.07   -3.70           -1.14   0.18
 Philippin            -0.03   +2.95           0.66    -23.66
 es                                                   
 S.Korea    <KRW=KFT  +0.16   -3.23           -0.07   2.63
            C>                                        
 Singapore            +0.04   -2.45           -0.16   -19.98
 Taiwan               +0.62   +2.68           0.07    4.99
 Thailand             +0.54   -5.08           0.00    -15.13
 

($1 = 49.2080 Philippine pesos)

 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; additional reporting
by Pranav AK; Editing by Patrick Graham and Raju Gopalakrishnan)
  
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